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Northumberland's public health chief has urged residents to follow the new North East lockdown restrictions with coronavirus 'spreading like wildfire' across the county.
The tougher rules will come into force from midnight on Wednesday, affecting about two million people across Newcastle, Northumberland, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham, in a bid to stop the soaring number of Covid-19 cases.
The new measures will mean that people from different households will be banned under law from mixing indoors in any setting, including pubs or restaurants, and will face fines of up to £6,400 for doing so.
However, it will not be illegal to meet up with friends from another household in a beer garden – though it will be against public health advice to do so.
Latest figures revealed all seven authority areas in the region have recorded an increase with cases up 79% to 2998 in the week leading to September 25 from 1324 in the previous seven days.
The number of Covid-19 cases in Northumberland more than doubled to 450 in the same week – the equivalent of 139.6 cases per 100,000 people. This is up from 196 cases (60.8) in the week previous.